Rocket Rod

University of Arkansas football signee Rod Coleman will be on display in tonight's 8 p.m. Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Game at Bud Walton Arena.

Like many two-sport stars at the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Week, Jeroderick Coleman was forced to make a decision.

Would he pick the gridiron. Or would he say yes to hoops?

Well this week, Coleman has said yes to the hardcourt, where he'll represent the West All-Stars tonight in the AHSCA Boys Basketball Game at 8 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.

But away from the all-star spotlight, Coleman's decision between the two sports was reversed.

A standout at Camden Fairview High School, Coleman -- who answers to the name Rod -- was pursued by both Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt and Razorback basketball coach Stan Heath.

Although he'll tell you his first love is hoops, Coleman chose football.

"I grew up playing basketball and that was always my favorite," Coleman said. "But football is what I've decided to stick with now."

Coleman says there's a chance he still could end up playing for the roundball Razorbacks, but just in case he doesn't, he chose basketball as his all-star sport if this happens to be his last time on the basketball court.

"Basketball was always my first love and if I don't end up playing in college, I'll have this," Coleman said.

Recruited as a wide receiver, Coleman expects to contribute in a hurry to an already stacked group which includes the likes of Marcus Monk, Cedric Logan and Cedric Washington.

And it's that competition at the U of A which Coleman is looking forward to the most.

"I'm just going to love being there because there's plenty of talent and there's going to be a lot of competition," Coleman said.

Fayetteville High School head basketball coach Barry Gebhart is serving as an assistant on the West All-Stars this year. And according to the Purple Bulldog coach, he believes Coleman could just as easily help out the hoop Hogs this season as well.

"(Rod) just glides out there. He's such an athlete," Gebhart said. "He's so smooth in everything he does.

"He's a guy that always seems to be in the right place at the right time. And he's also a great kid on top of that."

For now, the only basketball Coleman will worry about is helping the West take down the East in tonight's All-Star showdown.

After that, we'll see what happens.

"This is just a privilege to be able to play with some of the best players in the state," Coleman said. "Some of them I've played with but some of them I haven't seen before.

"So I'm just here to play ball and have fun."

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